IFFR & sustainability

IFFR is acutely aware of the scale of the festival’s ecological footprint. There is an urgent need to reduce this, and to make the festival and the festival organisation as a whole more sustainable.

A number of initiatives have been launched in recent years, and these are being made both more intensive and wide-ranging. For example, IFFR’s car service fleet now consists entirely of fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, made available by BMW. These plug-in hybrids can be used in electric-only mode in the centre of Rotterdam, minimising emissions in the city. In this way, BMW shows that plug-in hybrids can contribute to emissions-free mobility in the urban environment. In the festival heart ‘de Doelen’, great strides have been taken in greening our processes, both in terms of waste processing and catering. Waste is separated at all levels, the use of single-use plastics has been reduced to the minimum and as far as eating and drinking are concerned, we work mainly with local or sustainable partners. In addition, the catering for the festival crew is now completely vegetarian.

The greatest challenges we face in reducing CO2 emissions demand a sector-wide approach. As well as a large audience-oriented festival, IFFR is also a major networking organisation. This means that some two thousand (international) professionals come to Rotterdam in late January each year, and some twenty IFFR staff visit other film festivals in and outside of Europe all year round. A common strategy with our international festival partners is essential if we wish to seriously tackle the CO2 emissions this involves. 

IFFR is currently studying how many emissions are caused by the flights booked each year for our festival guests. The outcome of this study will serve as the basis for a round table meeting of film festivals in the region (e.g. Ghent, Berlin, Gothenburg, Locarno). Together, we will initiate a discussion of how flying can be reduced as quickly as possible across the sector. The aim of this is to arrive at a concrete, realistic, joint step-by-step plan that does not disproportionately impact the quality of the festivals.

We realise that many steps remain to be taken. In this respect, IFFR has set up a ‘green team’ within the organisation, which will draw up a long-term vision under the supervision of a sustainability expert.